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Summer Snow

I went up north (Idaho/Montana/Alberta) this summer for mountains and nature's perfect combinations of blues and grays and greens and yes, white snow. It's no secret that I hate snow and winter and cold, but summer snow dusted across the mountainscape and in patches on the ground when you're hiking in a tank top is just divine. 

Three days after the official first day of summer, I went roaming across some of Idaho's most amazing scenic byways, of which there are so many. I explored these three stunners:

  • Route 17, Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway
  • Route 21, Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway
  • Route 93, Salmon River Scenic Byway

My target destination for that Saturday was a hike to Imogene Lake, a relaxing 13.5 mile round trip that starts at the Hell Roaring trailhead in the Sawtooth Wilderness. The drive there is easy, if you want to start from the lower trailhead. The last two miles to the upper trailhead, however, require four-wheel-drive and high clearance. The road was so rowdy that I even got stuck on one spot and had to back up twice and re-approach to find an angle that would allow me to get over. When I'm off-roading like that, it's also a true sign of summer!

From the upper trailhead, if you're only going to Hell Roaring Lake, it's less than a three mile hike and it's very flat. It's a great option for beginner backpackers (there were quite a few tents set up there) or families. Really, I would consider the whole hike easy because you only gain 1,500 in the 13.5 mile round trip. But after Hell Roaring Lake, the ascent does feel steep. 

It's all worth the effort, though, because Imogene Lake is beautiful. It's large and you can walk all the way around it, so don't worry if you see a lot of people. Just keep going until you reach your private paradise. Some of the trail was still covered in snow on June 24th, but it was passable without crampons.

At the lake, I had to stick my hand into some of that clear, glacial water and of course, I had to take a moment to touch snow (while in a tank top) on my way back.